Essay - Privatization of the Prison System and the Impact of the...


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PRIVATIZATION OF THE PRISON SYSTEM AND THE IMPACT OF THE DIFFERENTIATION OF SENTENCING IN POWDER VERSUS CRACK COCA*****E *****FENSE AND THE IMPACT ON AFRICAN AMERICAN OFFENDERS

I. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE POLICY

In 1986 and 1988, the U.S. Congress passed federal sentencing laws related to crack cocaine that differentiated the sentences imposed upon defendants in powder and crack cocaine ***** offenses in what is known as ***** 'Anti-Drug Abuse Act of *****'. These stricter sentenc*****g guidelines were p*****sed to address the emerging *****sue of crack cocaine which was perceived to be."..a social menace ***** ***** categorically different from ***** cocaine in its physiological and psychotropic effects." Crack cocaine is powder cocaine mixed with banking soda and then cooked in***** hard rocks, which are then broken up into smaller pieces ***** sold to those who use the drug by smoking it. Crack cocaine is cheaper than ***** ***** and aroused great public concern when it first h***** the streets in the United States. According to Alfred Blumstein of Carnegie Mellon University, as reported by Coyle (2002) in the work entitled: "Race ***** Class Penalties ***** Crack Cocaine Sentencing" crack cocaine began as an innovation in the drug market "***** distribution rights and boundaries were apportioned amongst competitors with the use of violence." (*****, 2002) The follow*****g table relates the median street-level dealer ***** quantities and mandatory minimum ***** by ***** Anti-Drug Act ***** 1986.

***** Street-Level Drug Quantities and M*****atory Minimums

*****

***** Drug Weight

Mandatory Minimum

Crack *****

52 grams

10 years

Powder Cocaine

340 grams

Source: Coyle (2002

***** created the United States Sentencing Commission in 1984 for ***** purpose of developing federal sentencing guidelines for the purpose of bringing about a reduction ***** sentencing disparity. By 1994 in alliance with provisions set out ***** the Omnibus Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, the ***** was instructed to conduct a study relating ***** different penalties in powder- and crack-cocaine *****. ***** study lasted the duration of one year with recommendations ***** ***** Commission to the U.S. Congress to revise the crack/powder 100:1 sentencing disparity due to findings that due to ***** small differences in the two forms of coca*****e that such sentencing disparities were not justifiable. Commission advised an equalization (1:1) ***** the quantity ratio that would require m*****atory ***** ***** to the two forms of cocaine. Commission ***** included advisement ***** ***** in ***** sentenc*****g should be based upon criteria other than the type ***** drug for determination of the lengths ***** sentences. These recommendations were rejected by the U.S. Congress along with refusal ***** make changes to ***** law and was in fact the first such move ***** the history of the United States Sentencing Commission since its' *****mation. Once again, recommendations were made in April 1997 regarding ***** ***** in sentencing *****tween crack- ***** powder-cocaine that the *****ial sentencing should be balanced through provision of a range ***** 2:1 to 15:1 for ***** to choose ***** among. This new recommendation "was based on both raising

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